Ahh Survivor Series. Raw vs Smackdown, as it has essentially been branded. I have to admit, when I first heard about the concept I wasn’t too keen, as I thought it was coming too soon. I didn’t think we had enough reason to care about seeing everyone in the same ring just a matter of months after they were split up.
But dammit they’ve done it, and I’m excited.
This PPV Spotlight is going to focus on the men’s 5-on-5 elimination match. Theoretically the ten top guys in the entire company, going head to head in the battle for brand supremacy. Now obviously, it never quite works out that way because of booking or injuries (or TV-hosting), but we still have an intriguing match-up with some mouth-watering potential clashes.
Braun Strowman. Roman Reigns. Seth Rollins. Chis Jericho. And Kevin Owens. Against Shane McMahon. Bray Wyatt. Randy Orton. Dean Ambrose. And AJ Styles.
What I really like about this match is the amount of history between members on the opposing sides. Not only do we have the current storyline implications to think about – will Styles and Ambrose be able to co-exist – but you will see the renewal of old rivalries and affiliations.
Barun Strowman will go up against his former mentor in Bray Wyatt, who will have his new accomplice Randy Orton by his side. Wyatt has also had issues in the past with Raw’s Roman Reigns, Chris Jericho, and Seth Rollins as part of The Shield – as well as Dean Ambrose on his own team. And Orton too has had issues with the same trio over the years.
AJ Styles obviously feuded with Jericho earlier this year, and was Reigns’ post Wrestlemania opponent for the WWE Title. And as we saw on Raw, you have the natural dynamic of there being two world champions, so Styles vs Owens has an added spice as well as the potential greatness of that pairing.
And of course, on top of the Wyatt associations, it will be the first time since the triple threat at Battleground that all three former members of The Shield will be in the same ring. It would not surprise me to see Rollins and Reigns as the last two members standing for Raw since they have been more than hinting at a reunion in the last couple of weeks.
Then you have the potential permutations of the match. The Undertaker on SmackDown 900 this past week said that if Team SmackDown fail, they will have to answer to him. So if they lose, or if anyone puts their own interests ahead of the brand’s, we can look forward to them facing off against the Deadman in the not too distant future.
Both sides have pairings that could be strengthened or broken by this match – the former Shield brethren in Reigns and Rollins, the bestest friends in the entire world and apparently the Universal Champion Jericho and Owens, and Orton and Wyatt from the blue side. I would’ve thought that the tandem most likely to split would be the latter, but more seeds could be sewn for the end of Jeri-KO too.
There are three individual champions in this match, so there will definitely be booking based on what happens next with those. A particularly strong showing from either Reigns or Rollins (who am I kidding, it’s gonna be Roman) based on the last few weeks would put them in prime position for a Universal Championship opportunity. On SmackDown, a TLC match for the belt between Styles and Ambrose has already been announced, but someone else could launch themselves into the title picture by taking out multiple Raw guys.
And what about the wildcard that is Shane McMahon? The last time the two brands were on the same show, the SmackDown commissioner was left laying by Raw’s Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar. Will Brock have an impact on Shane’s participation in this match? And if not, would it really make sense for him to eliminate Raw superstars?
It’s a bit of a strange situation, he’s a big name because of who he is and the risks he takes, not because he’s a great wrestler who will deliver in the ring week in, week out. But the match might not be set up for him to sly off the stage, so what does he do? You can’t make him look too weak, but you also run the risk of making someone else look weak by not putting him away.
If this gets a long time there is more than enough talent to tell a phenomenal wrestling and emotional story. I know I say that kind of thing a lot, but that speaks to how strong the current roster is and some of these guys are the very best in the industry.
I am so looking forward to this match because of how multi-faceted it is. It almost feels like every elimination, every spot, will matter, because there are so many different scenarios that could mean something. Some of it may have been accidental, but I’m going to give the writing team some rare credit and say this has been a well-crafted match from the get go.
There really are loads of different ways the finish could go, and I’ve gone back and forth on it many times. I think AJ Styles will walk out on Dean Ambrose leading to an Undertaker feud down the line, but what I’m sticking my neck out for is Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins to be the final survivors in a win for Team Raw.